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Hennessey was the standout Welsh player on the opening weekend of the Premier League

Despite not featuring in Crystal Palace’s final pre season game against Toulouse last weekend, Wayne Hennessey made his return to the Palace team with a man-of-the-match display against newly promoted Fulham. Spaniard Vicente Guaita is Hennessey’s new competition for the no.1 spot, but his magnificent clean sheet at the weekend will ensure he keeps his place in the team.

Tom Lawrence continued his tally amongst the goals for the second weekend running with a stunning free kick against Leeds, but wasn’t enough to stop them losing 4-1. Wilson and Ledley were both involved but came off early in the second half.

Making his debut against Cardiff on the weekend, David Brooks could have easily got his first goal for Bournemouth after shifting into some dangerous attacking positions. Brooks played more as a right-sided no.10, rather than a natural wide winger. He didn’t quite have the finish in his locker at the weekend but he will no doubt score for his new club very soon.

Ben Davies put in an assured 90 mins at left back in Spurs’ 2-1 away win against Newcastle, whilst Aaron Ramsey didn’t look 100% fit in Unai Emery’s first game as Arsenal manager. On the positive side, Emery looks like he is a fan of the position Ramsey has normally excelled in for Wales and this can only be beneficial for club and country.

James Chester scored his 8th goal for Villa in their second win of the season and deadline day signing, Lee Evans, was introduced after 55 mins for Wigan in the same match.

In a 7 goal thriller, Hal Robson-Kanu was back amongst the goals for West Brom scoring their fourth in a 4-3 win over Norwich. Former U21 international, Louis Thompson was brought on in the 88th minute – his first Norwich appearance in 2 years after having horrible luck with injuries.

For Brentford, Chris Mepham continued his great form with a strong performance against a strike duo that included Benik Afobe and Peter Crouch. Ashley Williams made his Stoke debut after 26 mins, coming on for the injured Bruno Martins Indi.

Welsh centre backs were few and far between a couple of years ago and now there seems to be an array of strong choices. Joe Rodon was like a new signing for Swansea, being part of a defence that kept a clean sheet against a solid Preston team to win 1-0. After being on the club’s books since the age of 8, the local boy made his professional debut at the age of 20 on Saturday. Fellow Welshman, Connor Roberts also continued his berth at right back.

Tom Bradshaw scored his first of the season for League One side Barnsley, while Sam Vokes was unable to get the winner for Premier League outfit Burnley in his 20 minute appearance.

The two Welsh players still in pre-season, Gareth Bale and Matthew Smith, are both still scoring for fun in their respective teams.

Bale has been sensational in pre-season for Madrid, scoring 3 in 4 games (his latest against AC Milan on Saturday) and one stunning assist for Marco Asensio last Wednesday. See below for a view-from-behind of his assist from the stands.

Matthew Smith scored again for FC Twente in their final friendly match on Friday. He looks pretty nailed on to be a regular in their side for the forthcoming season in the top flight of Dutch football.

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Author: Josh Embling

Josh is the main writer for Behind the Goal after launching the blog in August 2018. All content is based around the Welsh National Teams and Cardiff City FC. Email: Twitter: @joshembling

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